Amino acids make up 75% of the human body and are vital to every part of human function. Amino acid is a building block of protein molecules that our bodies cannot produce and need to get from a food source. They are essential because we cannot synthesize them from other amino acids or smaller building blocks.
Essential and non-essential amino acids
The eight essential amino acids are valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine and lysine. Non-essential amino acids are those that can be synthesized by the body and are different from essential amino acids that are obtained from food.
Eggs contain all essential amino acids. Meat and dairy products are the richest source of amino acids. Essential amino acids are found plentiful in chicken, beef, pork, and seafood as well as milk, cheeses and eggs. Proteins are made of amino acids and we need protein-rich foods on a daily basis in adequate quantities to supply the essential amino acids.
Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, teeth and skin; natural source comes from carrots and other orange foods including sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B is essential for energy production, immune function and iron absorption; natural source
is found in whole unprocessed foods, potatoes, bananas, lentils, peppers, beans and brewer’s yeast.
Vitamin C is essential for strengthening blood vessels and giving skin its elasticity, anti-oxidant function and iron absorption; natural source – oranges, red and green peppers, kiwi, grapefruits, strawberries and melon.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones – best source of Vitamin D is from the sun but from food sources mainly eggs and fish.
Vitamin E is essential for blood circulation and the immune system – natural source, nuts such as almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, avocado, fish and broccoli.
Vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation – natural source green leafy vegetables.
Almost every cell in our body uses calcium in some way and our bones store calcium; our bodies use calcium in our nervous system, muscles and heart. Calcium is essential for women; but as both men and women age, they absorb less and less calcium from their diet, causing their bodies to take more and more calcium from the body’s bones, gradually the aging process can cause or contribute to osteoporosis – more common in women than men. Calcium-rich foods include milk, cheese and other dairy products.
The main purpose of iron is to help red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body and one of the first symptoms of low body iron is fatigue. Foods rich in iron include red meat, egg yolks, green vegetables and dried fruit.
Zinc - High-protein foods contain high amounts of zinc such as beef, pork, and lamb. Zinc is an important trace mineral and is second only to iron in its concentration in the body.